Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Wild Run Tourism Expedition

The inaugural Wild Run tourism expedition was successfully held in the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation area (GMTFCA) with a total of 30 tourists drawn from the United States, South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

The GMTFCA is made up of national parks from Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa.

Zimbabwe’s transfrontier conservation area (TFCA) programme officer Miss Kuda Chigodo said the expedition seeks to market the mega park as the best tourist resort in the sadc region.

She said the participants had the opportunity to run following wild animals’ treks in the three countries’ components of the park for 90 km, to experience wildlife, cultural and natural resources in selected areas.

The group entered the country through a makeshift border between Mapungubwe National park in South Africa and Maramani communal camp in Beitbridge district on Thursday afternoon. They will leave the country this morning through the same point.

“This is the first of its kind expedition in the world which involves three countries. Previous events where this has been held were in Lesotho, South Africa and Namibia.

“The whole idea is to promote tourism in the TFCA as well as developing community based tourism. You will note that so far Boundless Southern Africa has donated camping equipment worth R327 000 to upgrade the Maramani Community Camp in Beitbridge,” she said.

Miss Chigodo said the participants stayed at the camp for the duration of the event and paid $10 per head daily and another $10 to traverse the park during the wild run.

She said as a way of giving back to the community, the organisers had also engaged labour from the local community and also trained some of them on catering for large groups of people and camp set up.

Wild run director, Mr Owen Middleton, said they were looking forward to make the expedition an annual event just like the Tour de Tuli which is held in the same area every year.

“We are looking at increasing the number of participants to 80 next year. Events like these help to unlock future tourism opportunities and projects. We decided to set camp in Zimbabwe this time so that the community could derive maximum benefits from cultural and natural resources around them.

“We will build on the success for this event for future programmes and we are grateful for the support from the governments of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa for the privilege to have such an event,” he said.

Beitbridge district administrator Mr Simon Muleya said the success of the Wild Run was the first step towards promoting cross border products in the TFCA, with Tour de Tuli having set the pace since 2009.

USA: Mourning Harambe, The Cincinnati Zoo Gorilla Who Was Killed In Cold Blood

Harambe, a 17-year-old male lowland gorilla, was shot dead Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoo officials made the decision to fatally shoot the gorilla after a 3-year-old child fell into the gorilla’s enclosure.

Known by zoo employees as “Handsome Harambe,” the silverback came to Cincinnati in September, 2014.

He was born May 27, 1999, at Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas.

Harambe’s former zoo keeper said everyone who raised the gorilla is deeply hurt and affected by his death.

"He always had a little bit of a flair about him. He was not mean, he was a gentle little guy,” said Jerry Stones, Harabe’s former caretaker. “He grew up to be a beautiful, beautiful animal. He was never aggressive, never mean. He would tease the heck out of people.”

The gorilla was sent to the Cincinnati Zoo as part of western lowland gorilla species survival plan for breeding. Cincinnati Zoo Officials said he was key player in the zoo’s captive breeding and conservation efforts.

The 450-pound silverback gorilla had just celebrated his 17th birthday the day before he was shot.

“It is a big loss to the Cincinnati Zoo, Harambe was one of our most magnificent animals, he’s a critically endangered species,” said Thane Maynard, director of the Cincinnati Zoo.

Harambe's death is not the end of his gene pool. Zoo officials said reproductive biologists saved his sperm for future breeding.

USA: Mr Harambe, Gorilla Killed In Zoo After 3-year-old boy Jumps Into Enclosure At Cincinnati Zoo, How Did Boy Get There?

Officials at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden said looking back, they "would make the same decision" over again to shoot the 450-pound gorilla after a boy climbed over the stainless steel barrier and fell into the enclosure, said Thane Maynard, the zoo's director.

Harambe, the 17-year-old silverback gorilla nicknamed "Handsome Harambe" by zookeepers for his good looks, was "six times stronger than a man" and acting "erratically" when he was shot and killed with the 3-year-old boy in between his legs, Maynard said during a news conference Monday.

The barrier separating visitors from the gorilla enclosure exceeded "any required protocols," Maynard said, adding that while the barrier is over 3 feet high, "anyone" can climb it if they "want to," comparing it to burglars gaining access to a locked house or car. The child was originally thought to have climbed through the 38-year-old barrier, but upon further inspection, it was determined that he climbed over it, Maynard said.

The child then fell about 15 feet into about a 18 inches of water, Maynard said, calling him a "tough little kid." Maynard said he is not "pointing fingers" on who to blame for the incident.

"We’ve never had a situation like this in the zoo," Maynard said, adding that drills are done "regularly" to prepare for them.

The zoo plans to double the size of the gorilla exhibit and will be "looking at" the barrier to see if changes need to be made, Maynard said.

More than 7,000 people were at the Cincinnati zoo when Harambe was killed on Saturday, Maynard said. The "difficult" decision to shoot and kill him was made after he didn't respond to a "special call" zookeepers make to call the gorillas in. Instead, he was stimulated by the child and onlookers' screams and began dragging him around, Maynard said.

The two female gorillas that lived in Harambe's group have been "looking around" for him, Maynard said, but they did not witness the shooting.

The zoo's gorilla breeding program is still "intact," Maynard said, and Harambe's bloodline has not come to an end. The zoo has a sample of his sperm, and his half sister, Gladys, still resides at the zoo.

"We lost an incredible, magnificent animal," Maynard said.

Days after Harambe was shot and killed to protect the life of a 3-year-old boy who fell into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, Jack Hanna, the Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, and the host of a series of television shows about wild animals, defended the decision to put down the animal.

"I’ve seen him take a green coconut, which you can’t bust open with a sledgehammer and squish it like this," Hanna told "Good Morning America" about Harambe, gesturing with his hand the ease with which gorillas can crush fruit. "You’re dealing with either human life or animal life here. So what is the decision? I think it’s very simple to figure that out."

A witness said the gorilla was protecting the boy, who ultimately survived the encounter.

"The little boy, once he fell, I don't think the gorilla even knew that he was in there until he heard him splashing in the water," witness Brittany Nicely explaining that zoogoers' screams drew more attention to the Saturday afternoon incident.

"The gorilla rushed the boy, but did not hit the boy," Nicely said. "He almost was guarding the boy, was protecting him."

Hanna argued that the boy would have been killed were it not for the intervention of the zoo employee who shot Harambe.

"I can tell you now, that there’s no doubt in my mind the child would not be here today if they hadn’t made that decision," Hanna said.

The death of Harambe has reignited a debate about zoos and their purpose. PETA, one of the world's most visible animal rights organizations, released a sharply-worded statement on its website condemning the death of Harambe, arguing that zoos fail to provide an adequate home for the "complex needs" of wild animals.

"Gorillas are self-aware. They love, laugh, sing, play, and grieve. Western lowland gorillas are gentle animals. They don’t attack unless they’re provoked," PETA said in its statement.

Hanna defended zoos, noting that they invest money in animal preservation.

"Remember something, no one loves gorillas more than the Columbus Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo and the zoo world," Hanna said. "We have given literally millions and millions of dollars to preserve these animals, both mountain gorillas and lowland gorillas."

LATAM Airlines Suspends Flights To Venezuela

The largest airline in Latin America, Latam, says it is suspending its flights to Venezuela because of the worsening economic situation.

The suspension came a day after Germany's Lufthansa said it would suspend its services to the country.

The German company said Venezuela owed it millions in ticket revenues.

Oil-rich Venezuela has been hit hard by the global drop in oil prices and suffers from high inflation and a chronic shortage of basic goods.

Several airline companies have said that currency controls in Venezuela made it impossible for airlines to convert their earnings into dollars and send the money abroad.

In a statement, Latam airlines said it would suspend its operations to Caracas airport "temporarily and for an unspecified time".

It said flights on its Sao Paulo to Caracas route would end first, within days, and the other routes it runs to Caracas from Lima and Santiago would be halted by the end of July.

Strict currency controls were first imposed in Venezuela in 2003 by late President Hugo Chavez.

The restrictions were further tightened two years ago, forcing several airlines to reduce their operations in the country as they struggled to repatriate billions of dollars in revenue held in the local currency - the bolivar.

Some airlines are now requiring passengers to pay their fares in dollars.

Venezuela's government says it is using its foreign reserves - which are now scarce - to pay for essential items such as medicines and industrial machinery.

Recently Coca-Cola said it would be halting production of some of its soft drinks because of a lack of sugar while the tyre and rubber products company Bridgestone also ended its more than 60-year relationship with the country.

PHILIPPINES: Exciting Tourism In Philippines

The Philippines is the ideal destination for the traveler seeking to combine pleasure with relaxation while avoiding the crowds found in other more well known sex tourism destinations like Thailand. English is widely spoken here and it is easier to communicate with the women making it more likely that you will have an enjoyable experience. Most of the sex industry is concentrated in two cities, Manila and Angeles City.

There are many different micro-climates within the Philippines, but there are two main seasons: November to May is the dry season, with milder months in December and January, whilst June to October is the wet season. The best time to visit is between February and May when the weather is warm and dry.

You can meet girls anywhere here. On the internet. In cafes. At the mall. In bars. Some of them are bar-girls, but most of them are normal girls. So long as you’re not a complete retard, you can date whoever you want.

If you wanted to sleep with 3 different girls a day for an entire year, you could do it in the Philippines. Considering Philippine is a christian country, Filipinas are open minded to sex and focus on marriage.

In Philippines you will get a better girlfriend experience than Thailand and if you are looking for a wife, Philippines is for you. Filipina are quite conservative in the sexual act thus anal sex is rarely practice.

Pinay hookers in hotel room. There are many freelancer in Philippines and most Manila hotels are girl friendly, thus you will not be embarrassed passing throughout reception.

What is the difference between Manila & Angel City bar girls?

Manila is convenient for the sex traveler who wants to make a quick visit, has limited time and is willing to spend a bit more money. The money paid to take a woman out of a bar for the night in Manila does not include the cost for sex. In Angeles City the bar fine includes the cost of sex though the client may choose to tip after the session for good service.


Sex: It is all over Philippines in different form; freelancers in clubs, bars, a go go, KTV,etc. With as little as P1,000(20$) and you are set for a night out on the town. You could be the oldest, ugliest SOB, and the clock starts ticking with your money, just like anyone else’s.

Sex Activities: Most of the action will be found in Manila and Angel City. Fun can be found in a go go bar, bj bars, clubs and massage parlours. Philippine is well know for pool parties in hotels and model competition alike, especially in Angel city.

Accommodation: Once outside Manila and Cebu, budget travelers can get by for around P400(8$) on simple accommodation in guesthouses and backpacker joints. Mid-range travelers will come close to P850(16$) on a reasonably comfortable hotel or simple resort accommodation.

Once you enter top-end territory, the sky is almost the limit: top-end accommodation prices will almost always be quoted in US dollars, and will average around US$80 for a resort or standard hotel (though this can go much higher).

Of course, as far as prices go in the Philippines, location is the operative word. Manila’s accommodation (especially mid-range tends to be pricey compared with the provinces.

Likewise, the internationally famous resort Boracay is a lot pricier than most other islands, though bargains can be found even there. The season also plays a huge role in accommodation prices: in the off-season, you can ask for and expect to receive discounts on accommodation of between 20% and 40%.

Food: is very cheap in Philippine. Street food will cost you about $1-2 USD per meal and restaurant food will cost between $3-5 USD per meal. Western meals at nice restaurants cost more, from $5-10 and upwards.

Alcohol:The Philippines is probably the cheapest place on Earth to buy alcohol, whether beer, wine or even premium imported brands. I honestly cannot think of a single duty free purchase of liquor, in any country where I have traveled, where alcohol is cheaper than local supermarket prices. In bars a local beer will cost you 50 pesos(1$) and in a go go between 80-200 pesos(2-4$).

Transportation: Travel within the Philippines isn’t difficult, if you don’t mind riding the sometimes rickety public transportation. Public transportation start as little as 20 pesos up to 600 pesos for long bus trips(1/2$-10$). There are all kinds of transportation available to tourist and locals: Airplanes and ferries for inter-island transfers, buses & taxis ply in major cities all over the Philippines and the ubiquitous jeepney can be found everywhere. In Metro Manila, modern light rail transit is available on main roads. In tertiary roads & small rural towns the tricycle is the transport of choice.

Tips & Tricks

Don’t buy drugs from the streets. The drug laws in Philippines follow a pattern set by the drug laws in the rest of Southeast Asia – they’re strict and ready to make an example of any tourist foolish enough to be caught indulging in illegal drugs while on the island.

Keeping your belongings secure. Theft is a relatively low risk in Philippines, but snatch-theft and theft from hotel rooms are not unknown. An acquaintance of your guide was once victimized by thieves’ breaking and entering into their resort room (that acquaintance and her sister were fortunate to escape relatively unscathed, though they were robbed of their belongings).

The legal age of consent is 18 and you are strongly advised to stay clear of anything younger than that. Be aware of street girls connected to the police that organize scams. Make sure she shows you her ID and keep in mind it might be fake.

Taxi scams. Probably the most prevalent scam the tourist will run into when taking a taxi cab in Manila, Cebu, Davao or any other major city, is the drivers claim that his “meter is broken”, or not working for some other reason. He wants to charge you much more for the trip than you would have paid by using the meter. (Besides, if the meter did not work, the cab could not legally be operating!) The easiest way to handle this is to tell him to just use the meter and you will still give him a good tip. If he complies, just tip him a hundred pesos once you arrive at your desired location.

Money exchange. Upon landing in the Philippines, it is a good idea to change a couple hundred dollars at one of the money changers booths right at the airport. Most reputable hotels change money, and some at a better rate than the banks.. Also, as a general rule, the dollar to peso exchange rate is always better in Manila than in the provinces, and the dollar is usually lower in the provinces and other islands.

Looking For Filipino Ladies
Are you looking for a Filipina to be your girlfriend? Do you want to have feeling of affection and a personal connection?

You aren’t alone, most men need an attachment to a woman, and why not a young and attractive Filipina. If this is the case, you need a date.

You can share experiences, spend time together, go around the country in love and make your dream holiday a reality. You think isn’t possible, is it? An old man can’t have a loving relationship with a young girl, isn’t it?

Well, in philippines not only it is possible but it is easy with the right guidance.

Filipino women dream to meet a decent western man to spend time together, have a conversation, caring you and be your girlfriends. There are hundreds of university and office girls looking for you. If you are wondering why you didn’t meet one yet, the simple and play answer is “you didn’t look for in the right places”. Beer bars, AGo-Go bars, red light districts don’t have good girls, only hookers and money diggers.

This is the reality for most tourists going to Asia. I know, it is sad, but you can make the difference for yourself. If you are looking for good girls, carry on reading the next chapter, but if you want to have a lust of sex vacation with as many women as possible, jump the next chapter and move to the “Philippines Sex destinations guide”.

Meeting Local Women in Philippines

When it comes to meeting “good” local Pinay women in Philippines, you basically have three options.

Walk around the country looking for cute girls working in restaurants, shops and malls. Basically women that earn their money honestly without given away their pussy to the first tourist witch say “hi” to them. If you see a cute waitresses, just sit an have a coffee. Smile and if she feel good about it, start a general conversation with a compliment; “You know, you look so cute”. This is an ice break opener and will lead to get her phone number, go out and ultimately bang her.

Visit nightclubs and discos in Philippines. Girls need to go out to have some fun time to time, and why not to meet someone in the numerous cluns around the country. There are few type of girls in these clubs, the major three are; educated girls, freelancers and curious girls.

– The educated girls will be found in high end clubs. They usually sit around one table with friends and drink by the bottle. Will not be easy to approach because they are in groups and are skeptical to speak to strangers. However, if you are young, smart and know how to flirt with women, you will get results.

– Freelancers are difficult to be identify, they come in different shapes and forms. Some might just adding extra cash to her daily job, others are full time professional hookers. Easily approachable and pleasant to deal with, you shouldn’t have any issue to make a deal. They love party and fun, if you are like minded you will have a great time.

– The curious girls are usually young, they work or study and they want to meet a westerner to learn more about their world. They find Western men attractive (they look so exotic) but so far didn’t have any luck in meeting the right one. This is your time and don’t miss on the opportunity, happen rarely to meet a “curious girl”.
Online Dating Sites in Philippines. Every Pinay girls have access to internet and have at least one account on a dating site.

It is convenient to meet someone on the net because you have a great choice of girls, you can talk with multiple women at the same time and you can select preferences such age, location and so on. You can create a list of preferred girls, and over time reduce it down to the few preferred one.

The girls will be more open to interact with you, after all you are thousands miles away and you aren’t so scary as the tourist walking up the street.

You can build trust, affection, know each other well and create the perfect interaction for a dating. This means that the first time you will meet in the real world, you will have already a strong connection and be ready to spend the night together.

The best Asian dating site is:

– Filipino Cupid – It is one of the biggest dating site in Philippines with thousand of women looking for romance, relationship and why not, a night stand.

I have used Filipino Cupid for years to meet local women in Manila and Cebu (my favorite destinations).

I hear horror stories all the time from travelers dealing with fake profiles on other dating sites. I rarely encountered them with Filipino Cupid.

– Pina Love – This website is been around for a long time and is used by about 200,000 users. Easy to use and most of the girls are genuine, looking for relationship, love and hopefully a marriage.

I started to use Pina Love one year ago and I have dated successfully 5 girls (my relationships don’t last long because I love to keep on changing).

What I like the most about this dating website is the friendly interface and how simple is to chat with multiple girls at the same time. There are some real cuties on this site, check it out.

TIPS: Before you subscribe, I want to give you you three facts when dating filipinas online which will help you in the future.

1. First, the good news. Women from the Philippines really love foreign men. We are as exotic to them as they are to us.

2. Dating much older men is not a problem to most of the women. Thus, don’t worry about your age, it will not matter in Philippines.

3. Most men on online dating sites are perverts. Thus, you can make the difference and be on the top 10% just by posting three “clean” photos of you (make sure to shave your face and dress properly) and talk politely to the women.

Tailor made Adult Tours in Philippines

Brent, the owner of Filipino Adult Tours is a seasoned tour operator with a wide selection of tours available for single men, bachelor groups and couples eager to explore Philippines and have an erotic holiday.

All the package include air fare, transportation, excursions, accommodations, girls/lady-boy and more.

Angel City – Travelers that are more price-conscious or simply prefer a more relaxed pace often travel to Angeles City. Angeles City is gaining world fame today as the entertainment capital of the Philippines.

Manila – Sex scene is quite developed with options for all types of travelers. Nightclubs, go-gos, and bars abound where you pay a fee to the establishment (also called a barfine) to take the lady back to your hotel. Manila has the most beautiful hookers in the country.

Monday, 30 May 2016

TAIWAN: China Using Tourists As Bargaining Chip Against Taiwan

China and Taiwan have added tourism to their bones of contention since the pro-independence opposition swept to power in January elections, trading accusations about who is to blame for a decline in Chinese visitors to the self-ruled island.

Beijing has made no secret of its dislike for incoming president Tsai Ing-wen, who takes office on May 20, and for her Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which has traditionally favoured independence.

Since the polls, Taiwan has accused China of effectively kidnapping its citizens from Kenya on suspicion of involvement in fraud, and reacted angrily to China casting doubt on its observer status at the World Health Organisation.

Now the Chinese tourists who visit Taiwan - 4.2 million last year - have become the focus of discord.

The number fell 10 per cent month-on-month to 363,878 in March, according to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau. That is still up on the number a year ago, but those who service the visitors, including bus firms that shuttle tour groups around, say they are feeling the pinch.

Chinese tourists took about 4,000 tour buses a month around this time last year, but now it's only 2,800. China is using its tourists as a bargaining chip against Taiwan's new government.

MR LU SHIAO-YA, chief of the National Joint Association of Tourist Buses.

"Chinese tourists took about 4,000 tour buses a month around this time last year, but now it's only 2,800," said Mr Lu Shiao-ya, chief of the National Joint Association of Tourist Buses.

On March 17, Beijing established diplomatic ties with a former Taiwanese ally in Africa, Gambia, ending an unofficial diplomatic truce between the two sides.

Last month, Taiwanese telecom fraud suspects were repatriated from Malaysia and Kenya to the Chinese mainland. Taiwan slammed the deportations as kidnappings. Beijing said the suspects should be deported to the mainland as most of the fraud victims are mainlanders.

Taiwan accused China of political interference after a long-awaited invitation for Taiwan to attend the World Health Assembly as an observer came with a mention of the "one-China" principle. The incoming Tsai Ing-wen administration accepted the invitation but distanced itself from the mention.

"China is using its tourists as a bargaining chip against Taiwan's new government."

If Ms Tsai's inauguration speech next week upsets Beijing, which still claims the island as its territory, many fear China could really turn the screws on tourist numbers.

"This kind of political interference would result only in hurt feelings for people on either side of the Taiwan Strait," said Mr Tung Chen- yuan, spokesman for Taiwan's incoming government.

The travel industry is nervous. "Everyone is waiting to see how China will react to the inauguration speech," said Mr Golden Kou, a vice-president of EVA Airways, Taiwan's second-largest carrier.

Two mainland tour agents said they had been told to restrict the numbers they send to Taiwan since the elections.

"The National Tourism Administration told us in February and March to cut the number of tourists we send to Taiwan," an agent who asked to be identified only as Chen in the coastal city of Xiamen, which lies across the strait from Taiwan, told Reuters.

An agent in Guangdong province, who gave his family name as Kuang, said the Chinese were "still fascinated with Taiwan", but Beijing had cut the numbers allowed to visit.

A Beijing source with knowledge of China's policy on Taiwan tourism said there had been technical problems in some provinces, including Henan, which ran out of application forms for Taiwan tourist permits.

Chinese state media puts the blame on Taiwan. This week, the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said Taiwan's fiddling with the quota system was causing the fall in numbers.

BARBADOS: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.Announced That Barbados Is At VisitBarbados.org.

William Griffith, BTMI's CEO, described the site, which went live on May 22, as the most comprehensive online presence the destination has had in many years, with several new media features that can provide visitors with a peek into the destination.

After rigorous testing and feedback from industry partners, the BMTI unveiled the new interactive site to assist travelers in planning their holiday to Barbados.

More importantly, it will serve to sales referral tool for several local partners providing services and products to today’s traveler, including a wide array of attractions, services and events on the island.

“We are taking a comprehensive approach where the new website will be integrated with our social media," said Griffith in a written release, "and digital marketing strategies to deepen our relationships with potential and repeat visitors online."

Through the use of rich media in the form of 360-degree videos that provide visitors with virtual views of the destination; trip planning tools and a robust content strategy, the BTMI team will work to ensure that the site drives visitors smoothly through the travel planning process.

BTMI Manager Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager, Gabriel Isaie, said that the new site would be the centerpiece of the island’s digital marketing efforts moving forward.

“The technology on the website represents some of the industry’s leading technologies and traveler conversion tools," said Isaie. "The content on the website utilizes large vibrant and engaging photography from some of Barbados’ leading photographers. Copy has also been developed into easy to digest excerpts, highlighting stories on Barbados’ culture, heritage and lifestyle blogs."

CUBA: Caribbean Hotel And Tourism Association Members Meet With Cuban Tourism Officials

The President of the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), Karolin Troubetzkoy, joined by several members of CHTA's executive committee and prominent regional hoteliers, visited Cuba for meetings with Cuban and international officials during the UNWTO and FITCuba events held in Havana earlier this month.

Troubetzkoy applauded Cuba's Minister of Tourism Manual Marrero Cruz, on his opening remarks for the FITCuba event, where he indicated that tourism is a key economic sector critical to Cuba's socioeconomic development.

Marrero cited the range of tourism-related investments that are planned and the need for companies operating in Cuba to consistently provide quality services and authentic experiences while diversifying the tourism product, redefining Cuba's marketing efforts, and reaching out to new markets.

Among the CHTA group's meetings was one with Cuba's Vice Minister of Tourism, Luis Miguel Diaz Sanchez, who expressed a strong desire to see the region cooperate in building a stronger Caribbean brand.

"The Caribbean is one of the few remaining tourist regions where it is possible to develop tourism in a sustainable manner and to do this we must work together, in order to promote one Caribbean brand that is cheerful, festive and that will integrate us as part of the culture that we share, finding benefit in the arrival of tourists from around the world," said Diza in a written release. "The best option is to do this together."

Troubetzkoy noted that the Cuban representatives expressed a desire to establish a Cuban hotel and tourism association and requested models from around the region to assist in developing the best organization for Cuba.

The CHTA representatives and Cuban tourism leaders agreed that there is much to learn and gain by working together and will follow up on several priority items discussed during their meetings. They also agreed that there are many investment, trade and collaboration opportunities for Caribbean hoteliers and investors in Cuba, and will look at ways to develop this.

"The region has tremendous untapped potential to grow and develop tourism to the greater benefit of its people, Governments, and tourism stakeholders. To do this effectively will require an unprecedented level of commitment by the regions public and private sector leaders," said Troubetzkoy. "In that regard, our delegation left Cuba encouraged by the destination's focus and leadership."

INDIA: Adventure Tourism Can Be Biggest Employer

He said all states in the north east region were blessed with natural scenic beauty, distinct historical cultural and ethnic heritage. "All this offers tremendous scope for tourism in the region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said adventure tourism can emerge as the biggest employer in the north east region and urged the states concerned for its development and promotion. “If developed and promoted well, this can emerge as the biggest employer in the region. It can also add to the growth and income of the region,” Modi said while addressing the 65th plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC). He said all states in the north east region were blessed with natural scenic beauty, distinct historical cultural and ethnic heritage. “All this offers tremendous scope for tourism in the region.

There is also a great scope for mountaineering, trekking and adventure tourism in the region,” he said. Underlining the need to make the best use of the Ministry of Tourism’s ‘thematic circuit’, Modi said the region can also look for combining a few popular destinations of the neighbouring countries for added attraction for tourists. Terming the north east as the gateway to South East Asia, the Prime Minister said there was a need to take advantage of this. “We are opening up both road and rail routes to our neighbouring countries.

This should give a boost to the economic development of the region,” Modi said highlighting the achievements of his government in this regard. According to the Prime Minister, as of today, 34 road projects in the north eastern states covering 1,001 km at a total cost of over Rs 10,000 crore have been implemented by the specialised highways construction agency for the north east – the ‘National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation’. Highlighting the Internet connectivity project for the north east region in collaboration with Bangladesh, Modi said this would make available 10 GB of seamless alternate bandwidth for the region.

On power, the Prime Minister said the Centre has invested in power transmission projects covering all the eight north eastern states at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore to ensure electricity to more areas. On railways, he said major railway expansion projects have been undertaken in the region at a cost of around Rs 10,000 crore following the connectivity provided to Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya in November 2014.

Caribbean Tourism Organization Appointed Amanda Charles As Sustainable Tourism Specialist

Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has appointed indsutry veteran Amanda Charles as sustainable tourism specialist.

Charles will coordinate and implement the CTO’s sustainable tourism program aimed at enhancing the development, growth, quality, competitiveness and sustainability of Caribbean tourism.

Charles is a tourism professional with several years of experience, having worked most recently as the adviser to the directorate of sustainable tourism at the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, a position she held for five years.

While there Charles coordinated the directorate’s sustainable tourism program and managed the financial, technical and logistical aspects of the directorate’s projects and activities.

She also worked as a tourism specialist consultant at the Organization of American States (OAS) department of economic development, trade and tourism in Washington, D.C. and as a project consultant at the OAS department of sustainable development.

As the CTO’s sustainable tourism specialist, Charles will lead the organization’s agenda, which includes helping to develop quality standards for Caribbean destinations and their tourism products and services.

KENYA: Great Migration In Kenya

In just a few months, travelers will head for East Africa to see one of the seven 'new' wonders of the world, the annual Great Migration of animals across the African plain. Mahali Mzuri, which is Sir Richard Branson’s 12-tented luxury safari camp in Kenya’s Olare Motorogi Conservancy, is gearing up for the iconic natural event.

Guests staying at the property's 12 luxurious tented suites will head out on twice-daily game drives with expert rangers and trackers.

During the migration, an estimated one million wildebeest plus hundreds of thousands of zebra, gazelles and other game animals will undertake a perilous journey of approximately 1,000 miles through Tanzania and Kenya.

Along the route, lions, hyenas, leopards and other predators take full advantage of the migration in looking for their next meal.

Mahali Mzuri is one of Virgin Limited Edition's collection of unusual retreats. The group includes such properties as Necker Island in the Caribbean’s British Virgin Islands, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve in South Africa, the Roof Gardens and Babylon Restaurant in London and Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco.

New Hotel Openings In Africa

Although tourism in Africa has been a bit of a challenge in the past year, there are so many options and experiences that can draw clients in who are looking for a unique experience in a beautiful setting. Keep a map handy to show clients that most of the popular tourism destinations in the world’s second largest continent are far removed from areas that have been in the news for negative reasons.

In what is perhaps the most intriguing development on the Africa tourism front, visitors to South Africa seeking out sites and attractions associated with the country’s late president and global icon Nelson Mandela, will now have all the information they need at their fingertips thanks to a new mobile phone app. Developed by South African Tourism in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, this new app commemorates the 25th anniversary of Mandela’s release from prison.

The app is based on the “Madiba-inspired tourist attractions” map that was launched in 2014 to encourage tourists and South Africans alike to walk in the footsteps of Mandela, whose traditional Xhosa clan name is Madiba. It features tourist sites as well as general places of interest in the four main provinces that defined Mandela’s life. These range from the UNESCO World Heritage site, Robben Island, where he was imprisoned, to his post-presidential office at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory to Qunu in the Eastern Cape, where he is laid to rest.

The GPS-enabled app uses location-based services to establish which attraction the user is visiting and provides real-time data to enrich their experience. This includes written information on the site, audio describing the attraction and other relevant information including contact details, map previews and photo galleries.

The app also gives users their proximity from other Mandela-related attractions and includes an itinerary builder, helping to make it easy for those wanting to visit numerous attractions to best plan their route. It also makes it simple for visitors to share their experience on social media and features a rewards system linked to visitors’ social media activity.

Let South Africa-bound clients who are interested is visiting Cape Town know that the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, located in the shadow of Table Mountain, has recently reopened its Helmsley Wing and Garden Cottages after a redesign. The new looks were created by the design team Champalimaud. The Helmsley Wing is decorated in earthy tones with dark windows and doors, while the cottages have a blue and cream color scheme.

The 484-square-foot Helmsley Suites are a short walk from The Cottage Pool and pay homage to the Cape-Dutch presence. The rooms have hardwood floors and geometric patterns. Guests looking for a private setting (or a romantic hideaway) should opt to stay in one of eight 538-square-foot Garden Cottages, which share a secluded pool. Each cottage sits behind a rose garden and is surrounded by a picket fence, adding to the privacy element. On the inside, there is a separate living and dining area, as well as a mini-library and enclosed patio.

For those traveling with family, the Classic Suite is a good fit. With an open lounge, kitchenette, a walk-in dressing room and a private balcony, there is plenty of space for everyone.

On the East Africa hotel front, the Park Hyatt Zanzibar recently opened on the sunny isle of Zanzibar off Tanzania’s coast. Nestled on a beach in Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the new hotel occupies two buildings: the purpose-built Zamani residence and Mambo Msiige, a Zanzibari mansion dating back to the 17th century.

There are 67 guest rooms, including 11 suites equipped with balconies overlooking the Indian Ocean. Designed in a contemporary style with local touches, the rooms come with free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, illy coffee machines, and separate rainshowers and soaking tubs in the bathrooms.

Facilities include the Anantara Spa with three large spa suites, a 24-hour fitness center, a number of dining concepts, and an oceanfront infinity pool with a Pool Lounge. The concierge can arrange a host of activities for guests to immerse themselves in the local culture.

In North Africa, the Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech will is getting ready to open with 54 Moroccan-inspired villas, each equipped with a large garden, open-air shower and heated pool. The seven suites will have rooftop pools overlooking the Atlas mountains, while the two spa suites will each have an infinity lap pool. The hotel is set on a 50-acre estate on Route du Golf Royal.

The goal is to create a luxurious destination that can rival Marrakech’s numerous swanky hotels, so there will be five F&B concepts — featuring both Moroccan and international cuisine — plus an expansive spa. Covering more than 19,000 square feet, the spa will have a yoga studio, fitness center and indoor pool, in addition to four treatment rooms and two couple’s suites.

Clients planning a trip to Morocco this coming winter may be interested to know that the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca is scheduled to open before year’s end. It will offer guests views of the Atlantic Ocean and have 183 rooms and suites. The property will occupy a place on the city’s oceanfront promenade. It will become part of Anfa Place, a luxury mixed-use development near the Corniche District.

The master plan was designed by architectural firm Foster + Partners and occupies a total area of approximately 25 acres. The interior design developed by GA Design International is described as fresh, modern and layered with elements from the local culture. The hotel’s top floor will be transformed into a French brasserie and bar and its spa will offer guests a mix of Western and local therapies, including a traditional hammam experience. Four Seasons also has a hotel in Marrakech.

In Egypt, the Royal Maxim Palace Kempinski Cairo is scheduled to open this summer. This new property is near the Cairo International Airport. The Excelsior Ballroom will be able to hold 2,300 guests (this makes it the largest ballroom in Egypt). The Royal Maxim Palace also has touches like a private theater that seats 60. This will be the second Kempinski property in Cairo — the first was the Kempinski Nile Hotel in Garden City.

On the tours front, African Travel, Inc. recently launched their Safari Vacation Packages, a collection of deluxe locally hosted expeditions that optimize the advantage of group travel rates, with set departure dates beginning this spring. Most itineraries include additional à la carte experiences, allowing guests to customize each journey to satisfy both their budget and their bucket list. Each itinerary includes accommodations, and accepts a maximum of 12 people per journey to help ensure personalized attention. Departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of two passengers, allowing guests to book at relatively short notice, and many packages even include international airfare.

Of interest to your multigenera-tional clients, Abercrombie & Kent’s small group programs include the services of a Children’s Activity Coordinator, who travels with the group and organizes age-appropriate activities. Some of these have an educational slant, such as a visit to a local school or a tree-planting project.

INDIA: VHP Demands Sacking Of Tourism Director

Condemning the renaming of Hari Parvat as 'Koh-e-Maran' in the advertisement of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, VHP on Tuesday demanded the state government immediately sack the Director Tourism. "We condemn the action of Director Tourism, Srinagar for changing the ancient Sanskrit name Hari Parvat as Koh-e-Maran in its advertisement", State VHP President Leela Karan Sharma told reporters on Tuesday.

He condemned the recent advertisement of J-K Tourism in newspapers in which it referred to Hari Parvat as Koh-e-Maran which triggered the controversy. "Even there have been attempts to rename Shankaracharya hills as Takht-e-Suleman and Anantnag as Islamabad which can't be tolerated," Sharma alleged. He said,"these ancient monuments of Hindu civilization are in existence when Islam was not even born in Kashmir".

VHP demanded the state government immediately sack the Director and withdraw the advertisement failing which it will protest on the roads for protecting the Hindu heritage in the valley. "VHP smells this act as a step towards the Islamisation of the valley...government on one hand is taking steps to rehabilitate the Kashmiri Pandits back in the valley, honourably & safely and on the other hand some bureaucrats are siding with separatists & disturbing the harmony", he alleged.

Another right-wing outfit, Bajrang Dal, has also protested by burning the effigy of Director Tourism, Srinagar at Residency Road, Jammu.

JAMAICA: Jamaica To Promote Farm Tourism

Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett says Jamaica will be seeking to pursue farm tourism, which has a lucrative travel market worldwide.

He noted that many tour operators have been pushing this market in various countries and that Jamaica is geographically poised to benefit from it.

“The link between agriculture and tourism is something that we take very seriously and something which has the potential to solve many of our problems,” Bartlett said in an interview with JIS News.

He cited the Agro Parks initiative where over 6,000 acres of land have been brought into production.

“Can you imagine our visitors going on organised tours to these farms where the opportunity is there for them to also have lunch and dinner, eating the same produce from these farms,” Bartlett said.

“More jobs would be created, more people would get into farming, the farmers would be able to earn foreign exchange, and the Jamaica Tourist Board, would have another niche market to promote. This would be another huge plus for our economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, said that agriculture and tourism are both inextricably linked and are critical to the positive growth numbers his ministry is pursuing.

“Here in Jamaica we are fortunate to have two very powerful sectors in tourism and agriculture that potentially can take us to the promise land. There are so many ways they can feed off each other that we can’t help but to be entirely upbeat about the potential that is staring us in the face,” Shaw said.

MEXICO: Latest Mexico Travel Statistcs

The Mexico Tourism Board recently shared some new travel statistics from the The World Tourism Organization (WTO).

According to the data from the organization during 2015, Mexico registered an annual growth of 9.5 percent in the arrival of international tourists, moving from ninth to tenth place in world rankings.

The data also showed that the number of foreign visitors airlifted to Mexico by country of residence, from January – March, 2016 was 4.5 million, a figure 10.9 percent higher than recorded during the same period in 2015. U.S. residents showed a growth of 15.9 percent, rising from 2.2 million visitors last year, to 2.6 million.

In the first quarter of 2016, the arrival of 750 cruise ships to Mexico was recorded, a figure 2 percent higher than the same period in 2015, while passenger arrivals also saw an increase of 2.1 percent. Additionally, the Pacific region recorded the arrival of 265 cruise ships in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 12.3 percent, as well as a 14.7 percent increase in the number of passengers.

INDIA: Flamingo Tourism In Vidarbha

In an example of how a participative model involving local communities can help conserve and manage wetlands, local fishermen have been roped in for a first-of-its-kind flamingo tourism initiative in Vidarbha.

These fishermen, who benefit from revenues generated through tourist inflows, have been involved in the protection of flamingos and the larger ecosystem at the Saykheda water reservoir in Yavatmal, which saw a large fresh water sighting of flamingos this year.

The fishermen take tourists and birders in their boats to watch the flamingos, who have settled on an island in the water body located at a distance of around 18km from Pandharkawada. They work to ensure that there is no poaching, illegal farming and grazing of animals near the dam, which can damage the water body and disturb the birds.

At present, it has around 13 flamingos and tourists are charged Rs300 per boat for viewing them from a distance of around 300m for 20 minutes. Each boat can accommodate two tourists and there are around 13 such vessels in the dam.

"People's participation with some profit sharing with local communities is essential for the conservation of natural resources and wildlife," noted Ramzan Virani, a wildlife researcher and faculty member in the department of zoology at S M College in Pandharkawada, Yavatmal, who came up with the idea.

"The fishermen get around Rs300 from a group of two tourists per trip in addition to tips," said Virani, adding that this supplements their income from fishing and makes them stakeholders in the conservation and protection of the birds.

"Last year, the fishermen had cultivated watermelons near the dam using fertilisers. This damages the wetlands, which are dynamic systems, and also affects breeding. Micro-net fishing, which affects fish, also happens here.

This avenue of tourism is a substitute for their employment and can help us wean them away from such activities due to the profit sharing element as it helps supplement their livelihood," said Virani, pointing to how a tourist from Nagpur had given a fisherman a Rs1,000 tip.

The fishermen were also preventing poaching and illegal grazing near the waterbody, practices which disturbed the birds, whose conservation the fishermen have stakes in.

A similar scheme for joint forest management is in place for areas outside protected areas where the forest department and locals protect and manage forests in return for a share in forest produce revenues, and Virani stressed on the need to extend the same to wetlands management.

"Such tourism can be put in place for perennial and rich wetlands," he said. The birds, whose numbers once touched 32 including four sub-adults, are expected to be there till the onset of the monsoon.

"Local people have been included in showcasing tourism… this flamingo tourism is the first of its kind in Vidarbha," said G Guruprasad, deputy conservator of forests (territorial), Pandharkawada, adding that tourists came to Saykheda from Nagpur and even Andhra Pradesh.

"This participatory effort can ensure wildlife conservation," he said, adding that activities like illegal grazing and the washing of animals in the reservoir had stopped due to the efforts of the fishermen.

EGYPT: After EgyptAir MS804 Dissapearance,Will Egypt Tourism Boom Again?

Whoever or Whatever caused the disappearance of EgyptAir flight MS804, the effect on Egypt's tourism industry is likely to be terrible.

Tourism has long been a mainstay of the country's economy, which is the second largest in the Arab world after Saudi Arabia.

But in the light of recent attacks on Western tourists, and with large areas of neighbouring Libya controlled by so-called Islamic State (IS), foreign holidaymakers are reluctant to set foot there.

Before the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 as part of the short-lived Arab Spring, tourism employed more than one in 10 of the workforce and generated the equivalent of $12.5bn (£8.5bn) in revenue.

At that time, Egypt could boast nearly 15 million tourists a year, lured by such attractions as the pyramids in Cairo and the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Although there is no warning against the resort itself, the UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel by air to and from Sharm el-Sheikh, after the downing of a Russian jet that took off from the resort in October last year.

Another Red Sea resort, Hurghada, was the scene of an attack in January by suspected IS militants, who stabbed three Western tourists, although their injuries did not prove to be life-threatening.

Terrorists continue to plan and conduct attacks in Egypt. More attacks are likely."

It is still unclear whether the EgyptAir plane fell victim to terrorism or whether an accident was to blame.

But either way, the Egyptian economy will suffer as a result, according to Dr Yeganeh Morakabati, an expert in international relations, risk and tourism at Bournemouth University.

With terrorism, Egypt tourism still suffers.

Mike Bugsgang, chief executive of the UK-based Association of Group Travel Organisers, also fears the possible consequences for Egyptian tourism.

It's not yet proven that EgyptAir was brought down by terrorism, but if it is, it's going to be a big problem for the Egyptian tourism business, which is ongoing, in addition to events that have taken place in the recent past."

Small wonder, then, that the number of tourists in Egypt is declining. By 2013, it had fallen by one-third to under 10 million a year, and has undoubtedly slumped further since then.

And last year's revenue from tourism was just under half the 2010 figure, at $6.1bn (£4.2bn).

Tour operators may not explain the cause of the nosedive in tourists to egypt but they simply promote alternative destinations believed to be safer.

Holidaymakers have been turning to safer countries such as Spain,Bulgaria and Iceland which have experienced a rise in summer bookings this year.

Its bad news for Egyptians who rely on foreign visitors for their livelihood: hotel workers, tourist guides, taxi drivers and stallholders in the local souks and bazaars.

New security upgrades are in the pipeline, including a £20m programme to add more CCTV cameras and other measures, such as sniffer dogs.

Security at airports has been beefed up too.

Routine security checks are carried out on people entering Sharm el-Sheikh and the police regularly check vehicles in the towns of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.

"We have put a lot of new equipment in, we will continue to put a lot of equipment in. We're training and retraining the people," says Egypt's new tourism minister, Yehia Rashed.

But despite his claim that "Egypt is 100% secure", would-be visitors will take some convincing.

Likely, Egypt tourism will continue suffering for as long as terrorists are able to access airports, planes and Hotels.

Terrorists or their accomplices are employes at airports and Hotels, they are everywhere. Weeding them out may not be easy yet.

We've seen examples of this over the years and there's no getting away from the fact that Egypt is very popular with British holidaymakers.

The British travel industry will continue to support Egypt boosting tourism, but in line with Foreign Office advice.

At least not now, will tourism in Egypt improve.

Simply watch.

TIBET: Mt Everest, China Will Shame Misbehaving Tourists

Chinese authorities in Tibet say they plan to name and shame tourists leaving graffiti on Mount Everest.

Tourists were increasingly leaving comments like "I was here" in several languages on monuments and signs at Base Camp on the Chinese side of the mountain, they said.

They plan to erect tablets tourists can deface instead, to meet their demands for somewhere to leave their mark.

The Great Wall of China also recently introduced a designated graffiti zone.

Officials in Tibet told local media that as tourists already have to register to enter the scenic area, it would be easier to identify the culprits.

"Starting this year, we will set up a blacklist system to punish badly-behaved tourists, such as those who leave graffiti. The blacklist will be made public through media outlets," said Gu Chunlei, deputy head of Tingri County tourism bureau.

May is the peak time for tourism to Everest in Tibet, with 550 visits a day to the base camp there at the height of 2015.

NEPAL: Nepali Soldier Wins World's Highest Marathon On Mount Everest

A Nepali soldier has won the world's highest marathon on Mount Everest.

Bed Bahadur Sunuwar was one of more than 150 local and foreign runners in the race, which began at Nepal's base camp.

The annual run marks the anniversary of the first summit of the peak by Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953.

The winner completed the race, which ended about 2,000 metres further down the slopes, in four hours and 10 seconds.

"The route is very challenging but amazing too. I feel proud to be the winner," the 29-year-old man said.

Around 30 local runners were joined by about 130 from around the world, including the UK, US, China and Australia. A Nepali man was also the winner in 2015.

This is the first climbing season on Everest after two seasons hit by disasters - an avalanche that killed 16 mountain guides in 2014, and a fatal earthquake in 2015.

The 2016 season has not been without tragedy though, with several deaths from altitude sickness during a particularly busy period on the peak. On Friday, officials announced they had found the body of an Indian climber on the upper slopes, taking the season's death toll to four.

ICELAND: Airbnb To Be Restricted Soon

Move to tax people who rent out properties through website as officials and residents express concerns over visitor impact.

Iceland is poised to curb an Airbnb explosion as it tries to balance record tourist numbers with the protection of its spectacular unspoilt landscape and traditional lifestyle.

Proposed legislation, which could become law this week, seeks to restrict the number of days residents can offer Airbnb rentals in their properties to 90 days a year before they must pay business tax.

The move comes as the island’s 335,000-strong population is set to welcome 1.6 million visitors this year – a 29% increase on last year – drawn by the glaciers, fjords, lava fields, hot springs, hiking trails and midnight sun.
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It is one of a series of measures aimed at controlling the rapid rise in visitors, including Game of Thrones fans flocking to the drama’s shooting locations.

Tourism has been the salvation of the North Atlantic island where the economy, built on fishing, was seriously damaged after the catastrophic collapse of its banking industry in the 2008 global recession.

Now, as the building of hotels struggles to keep pace with tourism growth, many Icelanders are cashing in through Airbnb and other short-term rental websites, especially in central Reykjavík, where the majority of tourists stay.

One report estimates a 124% increase in Airbnb rentals in one year, with more than 100 flats available on the capital’s main street alone. The result has been a dramatic increase in house prices in central Reykjavík, and a paucity of long-term rentals.

Elvar Orri Hreinsson, a research analyst at Íslandsbanki who recently produced a report on the impact of tourism in Iceland, said the ratio of short-term holiday lets to properties in the central capital was “really high” compared with other countries with larger populations.

One thousand new hotel rooms were needed this year, yet only 300 were planned, he said.

“We are only building 30% of what we need in the capital area,” he said, making it impossible to keep up. But he cautioned against “following the growth at that pace”.

Tourism now accounts for 34% of Iceland’s export revenues, compared with 18% in 2010. As such, Hreinsson said, the economy would be hit more heavily now by a setback such as a volcanic eruption, than i9t was after the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.

In April, the supreme court ruled that anyone in an apartment block needed permission from other residents before renting their apartment through Airbnb. Two municipal councils, Kirkjubæjarklaustur and Vík í Mýrdal, have already implemented measures to restrict short-term tourist accommodation. The latter reportedly has rooms for 1,300 guests, but a population of just 540.

The new law, which is in the final stages of review, would apply across Iceland. Áshildur Bragadóttir, the director of Visit Reykjavík, said she was quite confident it would be passed “because everyone sees that something needs to change. We don’t want downtown Reykjavík to be tourists only, with no locals”.

Local media have reported complaints that “puffin shops” – those aimed at tourists – and Viking-themed enterprises were taking over in downtown Reykjavík.

Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir, the director of the Icelandic Tourist Board, said there were “some challenges, but not heavy tensions”, and recent research showed Icelanders were positive towards visitors and tourism itself, despite some concerns. But, she said, “we need to monitor [it] very closely and take care that we don’t, for example, create a city centre devoid of citizens”.

She said the legislation was not an attempt to ban Airbnb, because many tourists preferred that experience to hotels, but to establish controls and “to give it a place within the [tourism] sector where it has to adhere to rules”.
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Inadequate infrastructure has also led to some tensions between residents and visitors, in particular over the lack of public toilets and parking at the most popular sights, including the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal spring, and Þingvellir national park. There have been accusations of tourists urinating and defecating on the graves of famous Icelandic poets, and driving rental cars off-road over fragile protected sites.

Gunnar þór Jóhannesson, an associate professor in geography and tourism at the University of Iceland, said the lack of infrastructure was a challenge. With Keflavík as its one gateway airport, Iceland was “struggling to distribute our tourists around the island”. Some hotspots were under pressure in the high season, and there were concerns that “the city centre is being hollowed out, becoming sort of Disneyfied”.

A cap on tourist numbers on the most popular hiking trails, such as the Laugavegur, might be an option, he said, but a cap would not work for towns or the city. “We are not there yet and I don’t think it’s the right way to go.”

The government is looking at introducing direct international flights to Egilsstaðir in the east and Akureyri in the north, which, said Atladottír, would help even out visitor numbers around the country throughout the year, and make less-visited areas of the island more accessible, particularly during winter months.

Platforms, barriers and trails could help increase the number of visitors to key sites and protect them at the same time, Johannesson said.

“We have to take care in not going too fast, and we have to have the time and space to gather the information and data we need to make the best decision we can.

“It is easy to paint a rather bleak picture of what is happening, because it happened so fast, that Iceland is getting swamped in tourists. But it is not necessarily like that. It is a huge challenge, and in all fairness, the government is trying now and taking a firm grip on things,” he said. “It is growing pains.”

PHILIPPINES: The Younger The Better, Australian Sex Tourists Forget Their Children In The Philippines

In tiny houses a stone’s throw from the red light district in one of the Philippines’ most heavily-populated regions, young boys and girls are growing up without their Australian fathers.

The children, born to young prostitutes, will never know their dads. They stopped through like thousands of other Australian men do, looking for cheap sex with young Asian women. They found it, but when the women fell pregnant, the men fled. Others don’t even know their children exist.

It’s no surprise the offspring of Australians are growing up in Angeles City, the entertainment capital of the Philippines. It’s practically a home away from home for many Australians, with hotel names like the Boomerang, the Swagman, the Eureka and the Walkabout.

They attract hordes of Australian men, thirsty for a drink and something else: A young woman for the night.

Described as “blow row” and a “supermarket of sex”, the red light district 85km north west of Manila is a hotbed of debauchery and fantasies fulfilled. Money changes hands quickly and sex is a commodity.

Nights out on the infamous Fields Avenue are sold as innocent fun for tourists. But beneath it all is an undercurrent of sadness and heartbreak and crime. It’s sex tourism targeted at and propagated by lonely, rich Australian men, and the consequences are long lasting for families left behind.

Journalist Margaret Simons toured Balibago recently. She wrote in The Monthly that she was one of the only western women in a city of tens of thousands of people.

More concerning still was her discovery that Australian men were fathering children to prostitutes and leaving them behind, either with knowledge of their birth or otherwise.

“Some of the fathers paid to support their children, then stopped. Some never paid at all. Some don’t even know they have children,” she wrote.

On her visit, she met Kevin, 10, who wants to be a pilot, and Francine, 7, who she says wants to be a teacher. Kevin’s father, she said, was a paedophile in his 50s who groomed his victim from Australia using social media.

“Kevin lives in a 9-metre-square shed patched together with scraps of building refuse,” she wrote.

She also met Judith, 19, who recently gave birth to three-month-old Jaden. His father picked her up in a bar and, according to the Monthly, doesn’t know he has a son.

The story paints a picture of a poverty perpetuated by Australian men and a sex industry dominated by them.

“In the front bar of the Walkabout Hotel on Fields Avenue, you sit elbow-to-elbow with middle-aged, board-short-wearing Australian men who could have been plucked from any suburban shopping mall,” Simons said.

“More of them are on the street, surrounded by women, moving like lords of creation.”

Tourism figures support what she saw first hand. Of the almost five million foreign tourists who enter the Philippines each year, Australians are the third biggest spenders. They’re not buying T-shirts and fridge magnets.

Dr Caroline Norma visited the Philippines in 1998, where she worked with an outreach program going bar-to-bar. She told underage women they had other choices and prostitution wasn’t the only way.

Seventeen years later, she says little has changed, and that Australian men are the biggest problem.

“Australian men were everywhere then,” she said.

Dr Norma, who teaches global and social studies at RMIT University, says Australian men are “taking advantage” of a sex industry driven by poverty and corruption.

“I did an internship with a women’s organisation and we did outreach to bars in 1998. By that stage, Australian men were everywhere, even as bar owners,” she said.

“Back then I was surprised because Australia didn’t have a military presence in the Philippines like America. There were Americans over there but that was slightly more understandable.”

She said she was not surprised to learn Australian men are still flocking to the Philippines because the attraction to Asian women in prostitution is stronger than ever.

“Prostitution of Asian women has become almost the model for prostitution in Australia,” she said.

“Rates of Asian women in Australian brothels are about 50 per cent. The research that’s been done in Australia all points towards increasing numbers of Asian women in Australian brothels.”

Margaret Simons wrote that in Angeles City, “the entire town — with a population of about 350,000 — is a brothel, and its support system”.

$400m is spent on prostitution in the Philippines each year, a large chunk of that from the pockets of Australian sex tourists.

A website promoting Balibago (balibago.com) makes it easy to see why. It promotes young women as sexual slaves.

“In a city that never sleeps, these women are desperate to show you a good time and are known for their love of recreational sex,” the website declares.

“Praised for their tolerance to western culture, these girls are hungry to meet you regardless of your age, weight, physical appearance, interpersonal skills, wealth or social class.”

Another website explains how a typical night on Fields Avenue might go and offers tips for visitors. It describes how to procure a lady for the night.

Men there pay bar fines — an amount of money to a bar owner to secure a prostitute for the night or longer. The money buys them sex and even the “girlfriend experience”.

Margaret Simons said Australian men are looking for underage women. That’s the reason they go. Others don’t ask the age of the prostitute, but are equally complicit in keeping the sex trafficking industry thriving.

“Australians are also one of the groups most active in child sex tourism, although in Angeles City, it seems, most of this is not “preferential” but situational — men who have sex with prostitutes and simply don’t care about their age,” she wrote.

Dr Norma agrees.

“This idea that western men don’t know the age of Asian women because they look the same as other Asian woman is false,” she said.

“Even in western counties, the average age of entry into prostitution is 16, 15, 14. Men who seek to prostitute girls are looking for younger girls. Any pimp will tell you ‘the younger the better’.”

The Philippines, sadly, is the not the only Asian country where sex tourism has taken hold. It has been happening in Thailand for generations. Disturbingly, it has also increased in Nepal following the deadly earthquake that killed more than 9000 people in April this year.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), children who lost their families when entire villages were destroyed have been trafficked into the sex industry.

Tomoo Hozumi, working with UNICEF in Nepal, said he feared a surge in trafficking during the chaos of April and May and his fears were realised.

“Loss of livelihoods and worsening living conditions may allow traffickers to easily convince parents to give their children up for what they are made to believe will be a better life,” he said.

“The traffickers promise education, meals and a better future. But the reality is that many of those children could end up being horrendously exploited and abused.”

Trafficking in the Philippines happens for similar reasons.

Dr Norma said much of the problem is generational — a young girls’ mother is a prostitute and her daughter follows in her footsteps. It’s mostly driven by poverty but she said Australian men can’t shy away from their part in the problem.

“Poverty is one thing, but it’s also lax laws on foreign ownership of businesses, there’s lax laws in relation to employing children and having them on the bar plus corruption on top of that. Having said that, Australian men are taking advantage of the whole thing.”

Dedicated Tourism Minister For Ireland

A leading travel operator has said Northern Ireland should have a government minister dedicated to tourism.

At present, tourism sits within the Department for the Economy.

The Belfast businessman Mukesh Sharma said that it should have a higher profile.

"We need a minister for travel and tourism and aviation and we need a budget for that department," he said.

"Other areas around Europe and around the world have that in their portfolio of ministers, Ireland they have an aviation minister and a tourism minister all rolled into one, the UK has one.

Tourism is the fluffy side of foreign investment and it requires a totally different mentality.

Confessions Of An Economy Class Passenger

We’ve all been there where we looked at business or first class passengers; their seats are spacious, they are treated like gold (and they can afford gold) and their long 13-hours flying experiences are comfortable. And while travelling to another country is a huge privilege, one can’t help but to turn a little bit green…

I’ve been watching you. I had my eye on you from the moment I spotted your suit in the check-in line.

Your line moved. My line stood still.

Your line was filled with briefcases and exclusivity. My line was packed with crying babies and a long waiting period.

You were greeted with a smile; I got a “next”.

The immigration officer stamped your passport with grace and cracked a friendly grin. I got the look of “don’t bother me, stamp, stamp, good riddance”.

You sat in a lounge where champagne is synonymous with breakfast, lunch and dinner. I sat in the food court and drank from a plastic polystyrene cup with chemicals seeping into my stomach. Your food was dainty; mine came on a tray with crumbs from the previous user.

You freshened up in fancy bathrooms with showers, I smelled like transit with 24-hour hair.

You shopped for cigars and perfume in the duty free stores; I went for a quick eau de toilette tester spray and walked out.

The screens at the boarding gate flickered with the word “priority” and friendly airport workers scanned your ticket while I braved the stampede of a line where it was every one for themselves with people pushing from the back with backpacks in your face and a line cutter lurking on the side.

As soon as your bum hit the spacious seat a stewardess bowed down and offered you a glass of juice; I raced for my seat, had to argue with someone that the number on my ticket was in fact the one next to the window and the only drink I got was the taste of someone’s bum in my face.

You had newspapers in your seat pocket; I had a vomit bag and an in case of emergency brochure.

The ladies in uniform were at your beck and call throughout the flight, I had to push the button until I needed a Band-Aid for my finger.

Your food was served hot and on plates, mine resembled hospital food served with more chemicals seeping through my stomach.

You reclined your expensive seat, put on an eye mask and peacefully floated off to dreamland while I lost sleep over the cost of my ticket next to a snoring passenger, stinky feet and crying babies with a face pressed up against the window and a tiny pillow constantly plummeting to the floor.

You sat next to a celebrity while I shared my space with a rib-poking non-stop talker, a devious thief and some more crying babies.

The back of your seat gave you a gentle massage; I got knees and annoying kicks.

What you asked you receive, what I asked was too much.

Upon arrival you were out of the plane and at immigration while I still had to crawl over passengers to get my bag from the overhead compartment.

You entered and exited through the front door; I entered through the back door but exited through the front door to get punished for my choice of class with the sight of your comfortable seat.

You had your name written on a board and a driver, I had to fight off taxis and haggle for a price.

You left the airport for a luxurious hotel; I added an “s” and got a hostel.

You, sir, were flying First Class; I, madam, suffered through Economy.

UAE: Passenger Smears Sleeping Passenger With Lotion As She Slept

A woman was sexually assaulted by a fellow male passenger on a flight from Dubai to New York City, authorities said.

According to The Smoking Gun, the suspect rubbed lotion over the victim’s body while she was asleep. Federal investigators revealed that the suspect told flight attendants that the victim had “enjoyed it because she did not resist.”

The incident occurred on an Emirates aircraft. The victim was seated next to Nadeem Mehmood Quraishi, 42, when she fell asleep after having taken anti-anxiety medication. When she awoke after a few hours, Quraishi had apparently inquired “whether she had a good nap”.

It was at this point when the woman realised that lotion had been spread over her body. She also noticed that her “vaginal area was sore” when making her way to the bathroom. Apparently her underwear had been shifted and lotion was smeared all over her private parts.

After returning to her seat, she asked Quraishi where her lotion was and he handed it back to her. The woman contacted crew members and told them what had happened.

When crew members questioned Quraishi, he reportedly admitted applying lotion to the woman’s body and vaginal area.

He said that he thought the woman “needed it” and that she “enjoyed it because she did not resist.”

Quraishi made an appearance in court where a magistrate set his bail at more than $50 000. He was also ordered to hand over his passport and was refrained from travelling outside of New York without court permission.

SOUTH AFRICA: South African Airways Encourages Women To Join Aviation

As part of the national ‘Take a Girl Child to Work Day’ South African Airways, SAA invited a group of girls to their headquarters, in a bid to introduce them to the world of aviation.

“Hosting the group of girls forms part of our efforts to interest young people in the exciting world of aviation. We have a number of youth programmes in place with which we empower the youth such as learner programmes, an apprenticeship programme and a graduate programme,” Lusanda Jiya for SAA says.

The group of 20 young girls from the Charlotte Maxeke Secondary School in Tembisa participated in an exciting day programme at SAA, and its Technical division, SAA Technical, where they were introduced to exciting aspects of aviation.

The learners had the opportunity to see how a flight simulator works and was inspired by female leaders in the airline who have made their mark in the world of aviation.

The learners had the opportunity to see how a flight simulator works and was inspired by female leaders in the airline who have made their mark in the world of aviation.

Take a Girl Child to Work Day is an annual corporate social investment event, held in South Africa since 2003. Companies involved organise for female learners (school pupils), usually from disadvantaged backgrounds, to spend the day at their place of work on the last Thursday of May.

The initiative is organised by Cell C, a cellular service provider, and endorsed by the South African Department of Education. Cell C Take a Girl Child to Work Day has become a respected movement aimed at imparting knowledge to girl children.

SOUTH AFRICA: Lufthansa Flying From Frankfurt To Cape Town Direct - 2 December 2016,

Lufthansa is expanding operations in South Africa, adding a non-stop route from Cape Town to Frankfurt - the airline has announced.

Dr André Schulz, Lufthansa General Manager for Southern Africa, speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, says the city will now boast services to both Lufthansa Hubs, Munich & Frankfurt.

The new route will start 2 December 2016, with the long-term view to make the route permanent, according to Schulz, complimenting the year-round daily flights from Johannesburg. Added to this, Edelweiss the Swiss Leisure carrier is expected to continue seasonal flights to Zurich.

Flights will depart from Frankfurt every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday - with bookings available immediately for these flights from Friday, 27 May 2016, either through the Lufthansa website or through travel agents.

Tourist arrivals to South Africa in 2016 are already on the up and up as the department of tourism just announced an 18.7%, with Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom cautioning that Easter in March would have had an impact - but the seasonal flights increases will bode well for tourism as a whole.

According to the latest StatSA figures released for the first quarter of 2016, 36 759 visitors from Germany came to SA in for the first quarter, while a comparison between movements in March 2015 and March 2016 shows that the number of tourists increased for seven of the ten leading overseas markets into the country - these being China, Belgium, USA, UK, India, France and Germany.

'Night service to off best possible options to access connections'

Schulz says the flight will operate as a night service with Lufthansa choosing the departure and arrival times carefully to offer travellers the "Best possible options to access connections to the entire Lufthansa route network.”

Flight LH576 leaves Lufthansa's Frankfurt hub at 22:10 and arrives in Cape Town the following morning at 11:00. The return journey departs from Cape Town in the early evening at 18:30 and touches down in Frankfurt the following morning at 05:30, where passengers can access Lufthansa’s entire flight program from its main hub. In total, the Lufthansa Group serves 316 destinations in 101 countries from its hubs in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Lufthansa currently operates a year-round daily flight between Frankfurt and Johannesburg with the Boeing 747-8, the next generation of the iconic Jumbo jet, the longest passenger aircraft in the world. In addition, Swiss International Airlines serves Johannesburg from its Zurich base, offering a daily service with an Airbus A340-300.

“After Johannesburg, Cape Town is one of the most important markets for the Lufthansa Group in Southern Africa and the new gateway will offer our customers access to some 200 destinations from the Frankfurt hub. It also unlocks new tourism opportunities for those coming in from Germany by offering attractive combination options to other destinations in Southern Africa through our Star Alliance partners," says Schulz.

The Cape Town route will be served by a newly retrofitted Airbus A340-300, which boasts over 279 seats and offers the new Intercontinental Business Class (30), new Premium Economy (28) Class and Economy Class (221).

“South Africa remains one of our most important markets in sub-Saharan Africa and a key destination for German as well as other European visitors. We are thrilled to continue building bridges between the Lufthansa Group and the South African tourist industry, says Claus Becker, Director of Sales, sub Saharan Africa.

Added to this, Lufthansa said it would be looking to have a competitive outbound offering for South Africa headed to Frankfurt. "Germany’s central position in Europe makes it an excellent point of departure for business or leisure trips, from the largest Star Alliance hub in Europe,” he added.

In addition to the new SA flight route, the airline is looking to added capacity to its current three flights in Nairobi, Kenya increasing it to four flights a week from 1 September 2016.

Earlier in May, Lufthansa's low-cost carrier EuroWings also launched non-stop flight to the popular holiday destination of Mauritius. Eurowings, which was launched in the beginning of March 2015, will offer year round service from Cologne to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport during the European Summer and Winter Seasons. With the arrival of Swiss leisure carrier Edelweiss in October, Lufthansa will serve Mauritius with four brands from Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Locally, the Western Cape area’s tourism industry is ecstatic about Lufthansa’s additional frequencies into the region.

“This new Lufthansa route will have a positive impact on business and tourism in the Cape,” says Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

“Germany is a priority market as our third-largest source of foreign direct investment, and the third biggest buyer of our products outside of Africa." Cape Town Air Access, a division of Wesgro says it is "actively working on making the direct Frankfurt - Cape Town route a success through publicity, market awareness, and networking opportunities".

“German tourist arrivals are growing rapidly, so we are very pleased that Lufthansa added Frankfurt to their existing seasonal direct daily Munich service. With this additional capacity we expect that Cape Town International Airport will easily reach the 10 million passenger milestone this year”.

Another recent addition as part of the direct route access to Cape Town includes British Airways' direct flights between Cape Town and Gatwick, set to start 24 November. Added to this British Airways has added two more flights to its already expanded Cape Town summer schedule, bringing the number of summer flights between Cape Town International and Heathrow Airport to 19 per week.

Deon Cloete, the General Manager of Cape Town International Airport, also welcomed the announcement. “This additional service from Lufthansa is not only good news for the airport or the region, but particularly for those who need a directly flight to Frankfurt. We value the partnership and the ongoing commitment Lufthansa has made in growing their service and thereby providing connectivity to the rest of the world. This is a huge vote of confidence in our city and we look forward to the continued partnership.”

Flight schedule (all times are local times;winter time) for FRA - CPT 3 times a week

- Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, from 02.12.2016

- LH576: FRA 22:10 – 11:00 +1 CPT
- LH577: CPT 18:30 – 05:30 +1 FRA

Flight duration: (on average) 11 hours 50 minutes

Distance: 9 401 km (5 076 nautical miles)

Aircraft type: Airbus A340-300 (30 Business Class; 28 Premium Economy; 221 Economy Class)

Sunday, 29 May 2016

VENEZUELA: Lufthansa Suspends Flights To Caracas Over Currency Controls

Lufthansa, has announced that it will suspend flights to Venezuela from 18 June due to economic difficulties in the country.

The company also said currency controls in Venezuela made it impossible for airlines to convert their earnings into dollars and send the money abroad.

Venezuela's economy has been hit hard by a sharp drop in the price of oil - the country's main source of income.

Venezuela has high inflation and severe shortages of basic goods.

In a statement, Lufthansa said that it "will be forced to suspend our service between Caracas and Frankfurt as of 18 June".

It noted that the demand for international flights to Venezuela had dropped in 2015 and in the first quarter of the current year.

However, it said it hoped to restore services in the near future.

Strict currency controls were first imposed in Venezuela in 2003 by late President Hugo Chavez.

The restrictions were further tightened two years ago, forcing several airlines to reduce their operations in the country as they struggled to repatriate billions of dollars in revenue held in the local currency - the bolivar.

Some airlines are now requiring passengers to pay their fares in dollars.

Venezuela's government has defended its policies, saying it must prioritise.

Caracas says it is using its foreign reserves - which are now scarce - to pay for essential items such as medicines and industrial machinery.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

KENYA: President Uhuru Waives Visa Fees For Children To Boost Tourism

President Uhuru Kenyatta has waived visa fees for children under 16 years, offering much needed boost to stimulate the tourism sector. The country charges sh10,200 ($100) for a multiple entry visa and sh5,100 ($50) for single entry tourist visa. This fees apply to all visitors, including children under 16.

Currently under the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons, all children under 16 require a visa unless they are on the same passport as a parent.

Visa fees for children under 16 were be waived to encourage family packages,”

The President was speaking at the official opening of the English Point Marina, a luxury establishment that incorporates a hotel, restaurant, gym, a pontoon marina and apartments.

The move is very laudable in spurring our tourism sector that has suffered for the past three years due to rising insecurity in the country.

President Kenyatta also announced reduction of park fees from sh9,450 ($90) to sh6,300 ($60) in a move targeting both the local and foreign tourists.

Last week, players in the tourism industry called on the government to reduce park entry fees arguing that the prohibitive rates were a key reason wildlife enthusiasts were looking elsewhere.

The Kenya Association of Tour Operators Coast branch had suggested that park charges be reduced to at least sh4,000 to attract more tourists to the parks.

This will be seen through an amendment to the VAT Act to incorporate removal of value added tax on park fees to actualize the new changes.

Visa application is available on arrival and also online.

Mohammed Hersi, the CEO of Heritage Hotels lauded the move as offering the requisite incentives to stimulate the tourism sector. He added

As Tourism players in Mombasa and Kenya coast we are delighted that H.E The President has chosen to work from Mombasa . It’s a huge endorsement for Destination Mombasa. We want this to happen more often.

KENYA: UBER Kenya Joins Sidian Bank And Zohari Leasing To Increase Fleets

Boosting vehicle numbers as well as improving vehicle quality has seen UBER Kenya launch a new initiative which is now available for its contracted drivers.

Together with Sidian Bank and Zohari Leasing will vehicles be made available for prices between 1 million Kenya shillings to 1.5 million Kenya Shillings at interest rates of just over 10 percent and a repayment period stretched to a maximum of 36 months for drivers meeting the various criteria for participation.

Speaking in Nairobi, Sidian Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Titus Karanja noted that this partnership is well aligned to the lender’s mandate to support enterprises to thrive. 'We are glad to be part of this deal, which is enabling enterprises to grow. In addition to financing, we will also provide technical assistance to the beneficiaries of this arrangement. This deal is part of our efforts to consolidate our new positioning that is focused on enabling individuals to own their tomorrow' he said.

'To make this unique opportunity as widely available as possible, the qualifying criteria for both the finance and leasing options are focused more on the applicant’s proven Uber experience than on his or her credit history' Karanja explained further before adding 'and the primary qualifying requirement is more than 500 trips and an Uber rating of higher than 4.6. We expect speedy uptake of this financing package, with the entrenchment of Uber’s services in Kenya'.

It is understood that even drivers with no experience or track record on the Uber platform have the opportunity to benefit from the Vehicle Solutions Programme because, provided their credit record is in good standing, they can apply for classic financing from Sidian Bank for up to 90% of the purchase price of vehicles that are of sufficient quality and reliability to give them entry into the Uber driver-partner network.

Anderson also pointed to the launch of the UberFinder platform in Kenya as a way to help those drivers and fleet partners not operating on the platform gain access to vehicles that they can use to build up their Uber track record in order to eventually qualify for the Sidian finance or leasing solutions. 'Through the UberFinder system, fleet partners are able to rent their vehicles to drivers on the platform rather than employ full-time drivers. while drivers have a unique opportunity to rent the vehicle they need to gain the required Uber experience needed to eventually qualify to finance their own'.

Anderson went on to add: 'The Vehicle Solutions Programme is an excellent example of the power of collaboration and partnership across industries as a means of driving economic opportunity in Kenya and it is another way in which Uber and Sidian are demonstrating their commitment to being proactive in developing business people and consumers in the country by making accessible and affordable transport a reality for all'.

Considering the challenging start UBER experienced with hostile reactions from taxi drivers and association is this a remarkable step forward and it will no doubt also be made available in new markets UBER had signalled it will enter soon, like Uganda and Tanzania.